Thursday, February 26, 2009

My Thoughts On Bobby Jindal Response to Pres. Obama Address to Congress

Sorry I haven't written in the last few days. I've been CFS tired.

That said, I'm really not going to write a lot today. I'll point out that while Rupert Murdoch's apology was one of those, "I'm sorry you misunderstood what I was saying even though it should've been plain so I'm not really sorry," apologies, he was forced to make some effort at amends, and that's something.

And before we get to a response to Jindal's speech, I wanna point out two things. First, here's a quote from Jindal: "You know, a few weeks ago, the president warned that our country is facing a crisis that he said, in quotes, "we may not be able to reverse." " I italicized what's important to notice.

Now, Obama does used those words twice. Once in a speech as president-elect on January 8, 2009:

It is time to set a new course for this economy, and that change must begin now. We should have an open and honest discussion about this recovery plan in the days ahead, but I urge Congress to move as quickly as possible on behalf of the American people. For every day we wait or point fingers or drag our feet, more Americans will lose their jobs. More families will lose their savings. More dreams will be deferred and denied. And our nation will sink deeper into a crisis that, at some point, we may not be able to reverse.
Again, I italicized the pertinent words. He also repeated those words on Febuary 5, 2009 in a Washington Post op-ed, with the pertinent words again italicized:

Because each day we wait to begin the work of turning our economy around, more people lose their jobs, their savings and their homes. And if nothing is done, this recession might linger for years. Our economy will lose 5 million more jobs. Unemployment will approach double digits. Our nation will sink deeper into a crisis that, at some point, we may not be able to reverse.
So you see, Obama meant nothing like what Jindal portrayed. And I find Jindal's purposeful misquoting of Obama despicable. Which reminds me, I'll probaby do a post about how I find Tom Delay despicable as well. Hopefully sooner rather than later.

And oh! I did like Obama's address to Congress.

Second, read this:
Issuing a news release pointing out that Jindal's first name is Piyush, which the state Democratic Party did last week, removed the racist label from the Republican Party and placed it clearly on the backs of the Democrats.
Sam Hanna, Jr, the author of those words, couldn't be more wrong. And I'll tell you why. The Republicans were trying to scare people by touting Obama's middle name Hussein. Also, Obama was fairly open about his middle name. No more or less open than we'd expect anyone else to be. No one went around talking about John Sidney McCain.

The problem that Bobby Jindal's first name is Piyush is that he's obviously fully assimilated into white America, casting his Indian heritage aside. Obama stuck to his given name, even going from "Barry" to "Barack" as he started his journey into manhood. Moreover, the name "Piyush" is perfectly neutral, having no similarities to some other figure Americans are supposed to hate, fear, and/or despise. But as usual, Republicans/racists after try to deny their own faults by mischaracterizing what they see in others. Their incapability to think abstractly would be amusing if they didn't have such influence on the lives of others.

Now, this, with a hat tip to Prometheus6, just about sums up my feelings of Jindal's response to Obama address to a joint session of Congress:

Paul Krugman
Conscience of a Liberal
New York Times
February 25, 2009, 11:08 am

What should government do? A Jindal meditation
What is the appropriate role of government?

Traditionally, the division between conservatives and liberals has been over the role and size of the welfare state: liberals think that the government should play a large role in sanding off the market economy’s rough edges, conservatives believe that time and chance happen to us all, and that’s that.

But both sides, I thought, agreed that the government should provide public goods — goods that are nonrival (they benefit everyone) and nonexcludable (there’s no way to restrict the benefits to people who pay.) The classic examples are things like lighthouses and national defense, but there are many others. For example, knowing when a volcano is likely to erupt can save many lives; but there’s no private incentive to spend money on monitoring, since even people who didn’t contribute to maintaining the monitoring system can still benefit from the warning. So that’s the sort of activity that should be undertaken by government.

So what did Bobby Jindal choose to ridicule in this response to Obama last night? Volcano monitoring, of course.

And leaving aside the chutzpah of casting the failure of his own party’s governance as proof that government can’t work, does he really think that the response to natural disasters like Katrina is best undertaken by uncoordinated private action? Hey, why bother having an army? Let’s just rely on self-defense by armed citizens.

The intellectual incoherence is stunning. Basically, the political philosophy of the GOP right now seems to consist of snickering at stuff that they think sounds funny. The party of ideas has become the party of Beavis and Butthead.

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But Don't Jack My Genuis